iPhone X seen taking Apple closer to trillion-dollar valuation

Apple Inc took a step closer to becoming a trillion dollar company after the tech giant reported a blowout third quarter on Thursday and shrugged off concerns related to the $999 iPhone X.

Its shares rose almost 4 percent in premarket trading on Friday, on track to add nearly $30 billion to its market capitalization. The company is currently valued at $868 billion.

The Cupertino, California-based company also forecast a strong holiday quarter ahead, which will include the much-awaited iPhone X that started selling on Nov. 3.

"We see iPhone X unlocking pent-up iPhone upgrades, especially in China, driving more than 20 percent iPhone unit growth and a revenue and earnings beat in 2018," analyst Katy Huberty on Morgan Stanley said.

Long lines had already started forming outside Apple stores in Asia as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone.

At least five brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Canaccord Genuity making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $15 to $195. The median price target on the stock is $180.

With Canaccord's move, five Wall Street analysts now have target prices for Apple that put its market value above $1 trillion. Drexel Hamilton's Brian White is still the most bullish among Apple analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters with a target price of $208.

Apple's third-quarter results underscored the company's ability to drive growth not just on iPhones, but across its range of products, analysts said.

The company's suite now includes five different iPhone models, the iPad, the Mac and the Apple Watch as well as its fast-growing services.

Apple said it sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, above analysts' estimates of 46.4 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet. Mac and Ipad sales too were above the estimates of most analysts.

"Apple's first-mover advantage and "easy growth" from new smartphone adopters is over, but the company appears likely to retain its existing premium customer base," analysts at Morningstar said.

(This story corrects to Friday from Thursday in second paragraph.)

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee, additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)